The undoubted queen of European slide and now she is showing chops that no-one expected. Her melodies and themes are exceptional and when you add her great vocal style and sense of humour you get a package that is pretty well unbeatable.
Most of the songs here were featured in her live show at the 100 Club on Tuesday and, while they were great live, they actually stand up as well on record.
Her guitar playing has developed enormously; she can now build a song around her playing rather than taking the song as an add-on to it and the melodic structures of the songs allow her to play with more control and more depth than previously.
Take a number such as ‘Slowly Burning’ which is, as the title suggests, a smokey and slow Blues but her playing is remarkably expressive, a core element of the song and really heartfelt.
‘Rocking Chair’ is a statement on the consumer society and the way that people develop as they are told rather than discovering their own path. It is also a kickass number with a strong Zeppelin-esque riff. Her vocal really shows her sultry accent and the slide playing is gorgeous.
One of my personal favourites is ‘Lovers Novels’, which has a great shuffle beat and clean playing. It is the essence of a pop Blues and would make a great single (if such things are considered today).
There is also one heartwrencher on the album in ’24 Angels’. She was imagining a death row inmate on his last walk and the pain is incredible – to quote the lady herself “This song is about morality and forgiveness. Whatever you do in life, you will have to answer the consequences. While writing the lyrics I was thinking of death row, when the final judgement comes. How does the person feel while walking that last walk? Relief? Fear? In a much more minor scale, you might have these same feelings if you have done wrong for your loved one.”
All around this is a stunning album, her best yet and one of the best of the year so far.